The Academy Library is home to approximately 10,000 cookbooks, menus, and culinary pamphlets. Highlights include printed cookbooks published as early as the 16th century, including milestone works by Scappi, Platina, Carême, and many others. Our holdings also include 37 manuscript recipe books, including the oldest cookbook in the west, the Roman Apicius De re culinaria. Our cookbook collections provide detailed information about everyday life and mealtime, across time and space.

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An adoption of our Cookery collection ensures the care of and access to these materials. Theme collection adoptions are available for multiple adoptions. When you contribute towards the preservation of this collection, you join a family of adopters supporting cookery and the universal human relationship with food. Some of our cookbooks are showcased below:

A Collection of Choise Receipts. 1680.

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One of our favorite manuscripts, A Collection of Choise Receipts, dates to 1680, and is written in English in a beautiful and clear hand.  This remarkable manuscript contains two parts with a mix of culinary, medicinal, and household recipes. Thus, at the beginning of the manuscript, one contains instructions for making a plaster, directions for cleaning brass locks, and a recipe for cherry water.  Indexes for both parts of the manuscript make many different recipes for cures—or meals—easily accessible. 

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Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Jean Gembel. Autograph manuscript signed. ca 1660-1700.

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The author and keeper of these recipes valued her little book enough to inscribe a curse at the front, addressed to anyone who might steal it. The curse reads, "Jean Gembel her book I wish she may be drouned yt steals it from her." The manuscript, ca. 1660-1700, is in a single hand and gives the impression of having been compiled in a short time span, possibly from the author's mother’s recipe book as well as from loose recipes she had picked up during her own lifetime. The recipes recorded here are a mix of culinary, medicinal, and household recipes.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Bartolomeo Scappi. Opera. 1596.

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Renaissance chef Scappi (ca. 1500-1577) cooked for six popes and was chef at the Vatican while Michelangelo was completing the Sistine Chapel. Our book, a 1596 edition of his famous cookbook first published in Venice in 1570, contains more than 1,000 recipes, including instructions for preparing frog’s legs, pastas, and marinades. Perhaps most loved are the book’s astonishing woodcut illustrations, showing the kitchens, implements, and culinary tools employed by the culinary staff at a high-end Italian household.

Contribute to Cookery

Adoption Price: $ 150.00

Other cookbooks from our collections include:

Hannah Wooley. The Accomplish'd lady's delight in preserving, physick, beautifying, and cookery. 1675.

Mary Randolph. The Virginia housewife, or, Methodical cook. 1838.

Henriette Davidis. Praktisches kochbuch für die Deutschen in Amerika. 1897.

Amelia Simmons. American cookery, or, The art of dressing viands, fish, poultry, & vegetables. 1804.

François Massialot. Le cuisinier royal et bourgeois. 1693.

Jules Gouffé. Le livre de cuisine : comprenant la cuisine de ménage et la grande cuisine. 1874.

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